At the minute, it doesn’t pay to consider a career in autobody
Column by MEGHAN MCEWEN
There are two large forces in play which, together, are wreaking havoc within the automotive service industry. A rapidly aging and exponentially disappearing workforce combined with significant difficulty recruiting young, new talent have already made for dire consequences throughout the sector. Let’s look under the covers and see workplace culture as it exists in Autobody today.
I won’t lie—automotive trades are not for the faint of heart, in no small part due to oldschool values (or lack of values) and disregard for safety are still prevalent on certain shop floors today. This goes a long way to explaining why women make up barely two percent of the workforce within the automotive trades for all North America. Not exactly accommodating numbers!
Wages in automotive still populate the lowest end of the scale, as compared to other skilled trades. Where is the incentive to become an automotive technician, and be required to spend an estimated $40,000 on tools when options like plumbing, electrical, and numerous others subscribe to much higher pay programs right away? Let’s be real—it’s insulting to enter a trade at minimum wage.
The post secondary institutions who provide the technical training component in the automotive service sector are woefully behind the rapidly advancing technology being produced by automotive manufacturers. The manufacturers themselves can barely keep up with their own technological pace.
Is it any wonder that there is a severe lack of interest in the autobody trade from young people entering the workforce?
Employers, manufacturers, and educators must do better. The entire industry must do better. The situation as it stands is unsustainable and there is very little time left on the clock, if any. Without immediate positive structural change by all industry parties, the fate and integrity of our trade hangs in the balance.
As an owner operator it’s not up to us it’s up to being paid a proper rate in the insurance world. When that happens owners can create that workplace and then fix our industry’s problems.